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Integrating contemplative practice into the undergraduate pursuit of finding and following an intuitive call


Published 2010
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The purpose of this study was to investigate the integration of contemplative practice into higher education. The intention of such integration would be to facilitate a students ability to hear and follow an intuitive call. Intuition was defined as an immediate, unmediated or tacit way of knowing; calls or callings as inner directives towards meaningful life pursuits. Intuition and calls were seen as overlapping and interchangeable terms.
The literature review for this study explored relevant trends in higher education. One trend involves academic shifts towards professional readiness, or marketable skills, away from personal quests (such as following a call). Paradoxically, another trend suggests that undergraduates, across all majors and disciplines, are specifically searching for ways to incorporate personal quests into the college experience.
Heuristic research, a phenomenological approach, was applied to the experience of intuitive calls. The study reviewed over 300 emails and letters related to calls; interviews with an undergraduate about her experience with contemplative practice and of intuitive calls; that students journals; and finally phone interviews and face to face meetings with Gregg Levoy, author of Callings: Finding and Following an Authentic Life. In addition to the phenomenological study, a case study surfaced during data review.
The results of the investigation on contemplative practice, intuitive calls, and higher education revealed two newly identified variables. The first variable involved students developmental readiness to follow an intuitive call; the second addressed the role of tension or a disorienting dilemma in the motivation to follow an intuitive call.
Also included are discussions regarding ways in which brain activity bridges contemplative practice, intuitive calls, and disorienting dilemmas. This study, and supporting literature, suggests that contemplative practice (which has been shown to impact brain activity), along with developmental readiness and the presence of a disorienting dilemma facilitate a students ability to hear and follow an intuitive call.


Publisher Cambridge, MA: The author
Year 2010
Language English
Book contributor Lesley University, Sherrill Library
Collection opensource

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